Posts Tagged ‘Best in Travel’

National Comedy Center, Jamestown NY, Named Best New Museum in the Country by USA Today

February 29, 2020
National Comedy Museum e2

The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution and state-of-the-art museum dedicated to comedy as an art form, was named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today as part of the 2020 USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards.

Jamestown,  NY — The National Comedy Center, the nation’s official cultural institution and state-of-the-art museum dedicated to comedy as an art form, was named the “Best New Museum” in the country by USA Today as part of the 2020 USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards.

The National Comedy Center was one of 20 new museums nominated for the award by a panel of nationally-recognized travel journalists, tourism experts and USA Today editors for this USA Today travel award series, which celebrates outstanding destinations, attractions and experiences. All of the nominees were museums that opened over the past two years, including art galleries, science museums and children’s museums in cities across the United States and Canada, including Dallas, New Orleans, St. Louis, Seattle, New York City, St. Petersburg, FL , St. Paul, MN and Edmonton, Alberta. The Comedy Center was selected as the #1 museum in the “Best New Museum” category by popular vote after a four-week voting period from January 20 through February 17, 2020.

“We are tremendously proud to be named the Best New Museum in the United States and Canada,” said Journey Gunderson, National Comedy Center Executive Director. “We have reimagined the museum experience with immersive exhibit design and unprecedented personalization. This distinction is a testament to the significance of comedy, and talented comedic artists, to our culture and our daily lives.”

“Our visitors — from all 50 states and 18 countries — already know what a must-see destination the Comedy Center is,” added Gunderson. “We look forward to welcoming thousands more comedy fans from across the country and around the world to the Best New Museum, here in Jamestown, New York.”

“The National Comedy Center team is grateful for the incredible support from our local community, the entire Western New York region, and from comedy fans across the country, all of whom voted for the Comedy Center to receive this national recognition and high honor” said Tom Benson, National Comedy Center project chairman. “It’s tremendous validation of the hard work and vision of our staff and board, our partner organizations, and our community, who believed in this project and worked tirelessly to make it happen.”

“The National Comedy Center is one of my favorite places in the world, and I am thrilled that everyone will now know what I already knew —  it is absolutely the best new museum in the country. It’s an extraordinary showplace for all things comedic –- and interactive from the moment you walk in. I promise you will smile from beginning to end. Now that the Comedy Center is officially the country’s Best New Museum, you need to make plans to visit. You won’t be disappointed,” said Lewis Black, comedian, actor, author and National Comedy Center Advisory Board member.

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, “We are very excited that USA Today readers chose the National Comedy Center as the best new museum in the US and Canada. Anyone who loves comedy should plan a pilgrimage to this world-class, one-of-a-kind attraction as part of a New York State vacation that includes nearby destinations like the Lucy Desi Museum, the Chautauqua Institution, Panama Rocks and Niagara Falls.”

Last summer the National Comedy Center was named by TIME magazine as one of the “World’s Greatest Places” and People magazine selected it as one of its “100 Reasons to Love America.”

In early 2019, the National Comedy Center was nominated for the USA Today Readers’ Choice “Best New Attraction” award, where it was voted #2 out of 20 new attractions by USA Today readers and chosen as the #1 museum and #1 ticketed attraction in the USA Today poll.

The National Comedy Center is the United States’ official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the vital story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations, as formally designated by the U.S. Congress in 2019. Opened in August 2018 in Jamestown, New York, the museum complex offers an unprecedented visitor experience using state-of-the-art technology, interactivity and personalization to create the first true 21st Century museum environment.

Comedy industry authority The Interrobang named the design team second on its list of “Innovators Who Changed Comedy” in 2018. Visitors from all 50 states and eighteen countries have given the Center a rare 5/5 raring on TripAdvisor, ranking among the highest in the attraction and tourism industry.

Based on the vision of Jamestown native Lucille Ball for her hometown to become a destination for comedy, the National Comedy Center showcases comedy’s great minds and unique voices in ways that engage, inspire, educate and entertain. As a non-profit institution, the National Comedy Center was funded by a mix of federal, state and private philanthropic support, including partnerships with I LOVE NY, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State’s Empire State Development.

Design for the National Comedy Center was led by the most prominent cultural and interactive design firms in the world, whose portfolios collectively include the award-winning 9/11 Memorial Museum, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, The College Football Hall of Fame, SNL: The Experience, and more.

The National Comedy Center has been embraced by the entertainment industry, with props, costumes and archival material provided by many of the most revered names in comedy. The Comedy Center recently announced a major initiative to preserve Carl Reiner’s personal “Dick Van Dyke Show” script archive. Exhibition partners include the Kelly Carlin and the George Carlin estate, George Shapiro and Jerry Seinfeld, Dan Aykroyd, Alan and Robin Zweibel, Joan Dangerfield, The Lenny Bruce Memorial Foundation, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, The Harold Ramis Family, The Garry Shandling Estate, George Schlatter, Bill Marx and the Harpo Marx Family, the Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams estate, Desilu Too, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Corporate Archive, and many more.

The National Comedy Center operates the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which explores the lives, careers and legacy of the “First Couple of Comedy,” and the incredible impact they had on the world.

Now in its 30th year, the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in Jamestown has showcased comedy’s greatest stars and rising young comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Trevor Noah, Lily Tomlin, Jay Leno, Amy Schumer, Brian Regan, Lewis Black, W. Kamau Bell, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Rivers, Bob Newhart, the Smothers Brothers and more than one hundred other comedic artists. The 2019 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, presented by the National Comedy Center last August, was headlined by Sebastian Maniscalco and John Mulaney. The 2020 festival will feature Jeff Foxworthy and Legends of SNL David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon.

Stay connected to the National Comedy Center:

Website: www.comedycenter.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nationalcomedycenter/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LucilleBallComedyFestival/

Follow on Twitter and Instagram at @ntlcomedycenter

 

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Top 25 ‘Extraordinary Minds’ in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization to be Honored at HSMAI Adrian Awards, Jan 21

January 17, 2020
HSMAI Adrian_012219_026e2(c) Karen Rubin-Top 25

HSMAI’s Top 25 for 2018. This year’s honorees will be presented at the Adrian Awards gala on Jan. 21 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, New York City (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

HSMAI’s Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala, January 21, 2020, at the New York Marriott Marquis, recognizes inspiring best practices in sales and marketing for the hospitality industry. This multifaceted-event celebrates lifetime achievement; award-winning approaches to advertising, public relations, and digital marketing; and the teams that make it all happen. This black-tie networking extravaganza allows key constituents within the hospitality industry to connect with one another. With a crowd of nearly 1,000, it is a networking and celebratory event unlike any other.

The HSMAI Adrian Awards competition is comprised of multiple categories in three entry divisions: advertising, public relations, and digital marketing. Gold winners are celebrated at the Adrian Awards Gala Dinner Reception, which is co-sponsored by HSMAI, a leading hospitality and travel industry sales and marketing association, Google and TravelClick, and their work is showcased on-screen as part of the Gala opening. All winning entries are showcased in the online winner’s gallery.

One of the events of the evening is honoring the HSMAI Top 25 leaders in sales, marketing, and revenue optimization of hospitality, travel, and tourism organizations for their accomplishments in the preceding 18 months. Selected by a panel of senior industry executives, “Top 25” awardees are high achievers who stand out through their creativity and innovation, cutting-edge campaigns and programs, triumph in challenging situations and efforts that resulted in dramatic gains.

The HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds 2019 are as follows:

  • Tammie Carlisle, Head of Hospitality, Milestone Inc.
  • Leah Chandler, Chief Marketing Officer, Discover Puerto Rico
  • Alex Ferdinand, Senior Director, Worldwide Sales, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
  • Christen Garb, Vice President, Revenue Management-Americas, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
  • Thomas Garzilli, Chief Marketing Officer, Brand USA
  • Valerie Gavin, Vice President, Hotel Sales & Marketing, North & Central America, Accor
  • Lisa Giaimo, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, OTO Development
  • Kristie Goshow, Chief Marketing Officer, Preferred Hotels & Resorts
  • Lauren Grech, CEO & Co-Founder of LLG Agency & LLG Events, and Adjunct Professor at New York University
  • Linda Gulrajani, Vice President, Revenue Strategy & Distribution, Marcus Hotels & Resorts
  • Patrick Harrison, Chief Marketing Officer, Visit Tampa Bay
  • Matt Jones, Head of Analytics, Travel, Google
  • Jonathan Kaplan, Vice President, Global Sales Strategy, IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Nancy Kern, Vice President of Marketing, Coral Tree Hospitality
  • Jayna Leach, Vice President of Marketing, Visit Panama City Beach
  • Caroline MacDonald, Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing, Rosewood Hotel Group
  • Rene Mack, President, Percepture
  • Starla Middlebrooks, Director, eCommerce Services, Marriott International
  • Frank Passanante, Senior Vice President, Hilton Worldwide Sales Americas, Hilton Worldwide
  • Derek Price, Director of Business Development, North America, Expedia Group Media Solutions
  • Karin Salinas, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Baha Mar
  • Monica Salter, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Outrigger Hospitality Group
  • Phil Yi, Vice President, Marketing, Omni Hotels & Resorts
  • Tony Yousfi, Vice President, Sales, MGM Resorts International
  • Lou Zameryka, Director, Global Chains, Booking.com

Nominations for the Top 25 are reviewed by a panel of industry experts selected by HSMAI from among its membership and/or Board of Directors. HSMAI selects judges who have demonstrated exceptional leadership ability and have outstanding knowledge of the hospitality industry. Judges are held to the highest standards of integrity and commitment to honoring those individuals that have shown extraordinary leadership in our industry over the last 18 months. The entire judging process adheres firmly to these guiding principles and judges must recuse themselves from scoring any nomination that may present a conflict of interest. Nominations are scored on a scale of 1-10 for the results of their leadership for specific sales, marketing, and revenue management initiatives.

The evening celebration also includes:

» Gold Dinner Reception co-sponsored by HSMAI, Google and TravelClick, an Amadeus company, celebrating the Gold, Silver, and Bronze award winners
» Adrian Awards Platinum & Best of Show
» Corporate Social Responsibility Awards
» The Facebook Mobile Video Award
» Lifetime Achievement Awards: Lee Pillsbury, Bjorn Hanson
NEW! – The HSMAI Foundation Awards for Outstanding Efforts in Attracting, Developing & Engaging Hospitality Talent

Join the celebration honoring this year’s Top 25 by attending the HSMAI Adrian Awards Dinner Reception & Gala, January 21, 2020, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Learn more and register.

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners, and is the industry’s leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy ConferenceAdrian Awards, and Revenue Optimization Conference. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is a membership organization with more than 5,000 members worldwide and 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at www.hsmai.org, HSMAI Facebook, HSMAI Twitter, HSMAI YouTube.

See also:

HSMAI 2018 Adrian Awards Honor State-of-Art Travel Marketing Techniques that Get Back to People-to-People Basics

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Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps For 2019

May 10, 2019

Tennis Resorts Online has just published its rankings of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps for 2019. Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina and the Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks at the Gstaad Palace in Switzerland once again ranked as the top resort and top camp respectively.

The rankings are based on reviews submitted by tennis vacationers over the past year. Each was asked to evaluate the properties they knew first-hand on the basis of more than 20 criteria that contribute to a quality tennis experience. Those range from the tennis staff, programming, instruction, game arranging, and junior tennis sessions to such creature comforts as lodging and cuisine and amenities like spa and fitness centers, children’s programs, and other recreation. The staff at Tennis Resorts Online then compiles those reviews, overweighting the tennis elements, to be sure, but factoring in all the criteria to come up with our final rankings. Finally, the overall standings aside, we supplement the Top 100 list by highlighting the top tennis venues in each of 16 categories.

Taken as a whole, this list reflects the differing opinions about what constitutes a “great” tennis resort. The hardcore fanatic eager to spend every waking hour on court has different expectations from the casual player planning to divide his time between the courts, beach, spa, or golf course. Families want to be sure their kids are entertained, on court and off; romantic couples may focus on creature comforts; teams or groups of friends value a customizable program; single travelers hope for an engaging social atmosphere. Because we’re able to solicit the opinions of thousands to tennis players, the rankings reflect that diversity of expectations.

The list is made up of large resorts and small; luxurious properties and modest; 800-room hotels and intimate, 50-room retreats; beach, mountain, and desert settings. What they have in common, however, is that elusive quality we call “tennis atmosphere,” an almost palpable sense of deep-seated enthusiasm for the game of tennis and those who play it. In that sense everyone on the list qualifies a great resort.

 Top 5 Resorts

  1. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
  2. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, California
  3. Wild Dunes Resort, South Carolina
  4. The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Florida
  5. Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt, Austria

 Top 5 Camps

  1. Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks, Switzerland
  2. PBI Tennis Camp, Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt, Austria
  3. Cliff Drysdale Tennis at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Florida
  4. John Newcombe Tennis Ranch, Texas
  5. New England Tennis Holidays at Sugarbush, Vermont

The complete list can be viewed at tennisresortsonline.com/top100.

Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association to Honor Best in Advertising, Digital Marketing, Public Relations

January 14, 2019

HSMAI will celebrate 25 hospitality professionals as the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization at the Adrian Awards Gala © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) is honoring the Gold Winners of the 2018 Adrian Awards for outstanding advertising, digital marketing, and public relations in hospitality and travel. Platinum and Best of Show winners will be unveiled at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala on January 22 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

After receiving close to 1,200 entries, HSMAI is presenting Gold Awards to one of the largest groups of winners in the Awards’ history, including 104 awards in Public Relations, 25 in Integrated Marketing, 89 in Digital Marketing, and 48 in Advertising. The 200 judges for this year’s awards are prominent members of the travel industry and subject-matter experts in advertising, digital marketing, media, and public relations.

View the complete list of Gold Award winners on the Adrian Awards website.

“The Adrian Awards are a rare opportunity to recognize the exceptional work being done in travel marketing,” said Fran Brasseux, executive vice president of HSMAI. “But just as importantly, we are also putting a well-deserved spotlight on the exceptional people behind that outstanding work.”

At the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception, co-sponsored by HSMAI, Google, and TravelClick, Gold winners’ submissions will be showcased on digital displays and honored during the dinner reception. Winners of the Gold Adrian Awards are considered for Platinum Adrian Awards and the “Best of Show” Awards, the Adrian Awards’ highest honor, which will be announced at the Adrian Awards Gala. All winning work will be showcased in the Winners Gallery on www.adrianawards.com following the Gala.

Two new awards will also take center stage at the Adrians this year. The first Facebook Mobile Video Award will be handed out as well as HSMAI honors for Leaders in Corporate Social Responsibility.

The evening’s celebration will also pay tribute to the HSMAI Top 25: Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization, who will be honored in a private reception and onstage at the Adrian Awards Gala.

The Adrian Awards, the CLIOs of the hospitality, travel and tourism industry, will also celebrate lifetime achievements in hospitality sales, marketing, and public relations. Harris Rosen, President and CEO, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, will be honored with the Albert E. Koehl Award for Hospitality Marketing. Steve Bartolin, Chairman of The Broadmoor, has been selected as the recipient of the 2018 Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations. Stephen Powell, most recently SVP Worldwide Sales for IHG prior to retirement, is the recipient of the inaugural HSMAI Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Sales.

HSMAI also will celebrate 25 hospitality professionals as the 2018 HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala and at a private reception on January 22, at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Every year, 25 of the hotel and travel industry’s best and brightest are selected by a panel of senior industry executives for the HSMAI Top 25 for demonstrating innovative thinking and exceptional results in the preceding 18 months.

“HSMAI is proud to draw well-deserved attention to the remarkable contributions of these 25 sales, marketing, and revenue optimization leaders,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “The drive and creative thinking of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds fuel advancement and inspire innovation across our industry, in addition to contributing to the success of awardees’ own hospitality, travel, and tourism organizations.”

The HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds are as follows:

  • Jennifer Andre, Senior Director, North America and Latin America, Expedia Group Media Solutions
  • Dustin Bomar, Head of Industry – Travel, Google
  • Ronald Castro, Chief Strategist, Roca Marketing
  • Christopher Crenshaw, CRME, Vice President, Digital Data Solutions, STR
  • Fred Dixon, President & CEO, NYC & Company
  • David Downing, President & CEO, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater
  • Erica Doyne, Vice President, Marketing, AMResorts
  • Gino Engels, Co-Founder & Chief Commercial Officer, OTA Insight
  • George Galinsky, Senior Vice President Marketing Communications, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment
  • Darren Green, Senior Vice President, Sales, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board
  • Chad Hallert, CRME, CHDM, Vice President of Performance Marketing, Noble Studios
  • Allison Handy, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Prism Hotels & Resorts
  • Adam Hayashi, CRME, Vice President of Revenue Management, AccorHotels
  • Carolyn Hosna, CHDM, Senior Director, Corporate Marketing, White Lodging
  • Jay Hubbs, CHDM, Senior Vice President of E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, Remington Hotels
  • Jodi Kern, Senior Director, Digital Merchandising, Marriott International
  • Gil Langley, President & CEO, Amelia Island CVB
  • Dave Lorenz, Vice President, Travel Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Sarah Murov, Vice President, Public Relations & Communications, Loews Hotels & Co
  • Leticia Proctor, Senior Vice President, Sales, Revenue Management and Digital Strategies, PM Hotel Group
  • Julie Scott, President, Colwen Hotels
  • Jim Struna, CRME, Regional Director of Revenue, Rosewood Hotel Group
  • Matt Teixeira, CHBA, Director of Sales, Best Western Hotels and Resorts
  • Theresa van Greunen, Senior Director Corporate Communications, Aqua-Aston Hospitality
  • Cherilyn Williams, Director, Global Portfolio Marketing, Marriott International

In addition to recognizing outstanding travel advertising, digital marketing, and public relations campaigns, HSMAI’s Adrian Awards Dinner Reception and Gala offers hospitality professionals an opportunity to connect for an evening of celebration with nearly 1,000 peers from their industry. Tickets can be purchased at www.adrianawards.com.

HSMAI will also host the 2019 Digital Marketing Strategy Conference at the New York Marriott Marquis, January 23. For more information, visit www.hsmai.org/digitalconference.

See: HSMAI’s 61st Annual Adrian Awards Honor Luminaries in Travel Marketing

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy ConferenceAdrian Awards, and Revenue Optimization Conference. Founded in 1927, HSMAI is a membership organization of more than 5,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at https://www.hsmai.orgwww.facebook.com/hsmaiwww.twitter.com/hsmai, and www.youtube.com/hsmai1.

 

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Kiawah Island, Roy Emerson Head List of Top 100 Tennis Resorts & Camps

May 11, 2017

Kiawah Sanctuary Aerial OceanFront B

Tennis Resorts Online has just published its annual rankings of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and CampsKiawah Island Golf Resort on Kiawah Island in South Carolina remains in the top position among resorts, edging out a former No. 1 Rancho Valencia Resort in Rancho Santa Fe, California. Kiawah took top honors partly on the strength of its “Tennis Instruction and Programming,” both for adults and juniors. The top camp was once again the Roy Emerson Tennis Weeks program at the Gstaad Palace in Gstaad, Switzerland, which also drew raves and the No. 1 slot for “Tennis Staff”.
As in years past, these results are based on the critiques submitted over the past year by vacationers themselves. Reviewers were asked to evaluate each resort or camp in more than 20 different categories. These ranged from the quality of the tennis staff, programs, instruction, and game matching to such amenities as accommodations, cuisine, overall recreation, spa and fitness facilities, children’s programs, and more.
With all the reviews in, results are tabulated using a formula that gives added weight to tennis elements. To ensure that the final results are statistically meaningful, we require a minimum of 25 reviews to qualify for a ranking among the Top 10 resorts or Top 5 camps. We then award Gold Medals to the Top 25 Resorts and Top 10 Camps, listing them in ranking order, and Silver and Bronze medals to the remaining finalists.
Our goal is to reward the resorts and camps that truly do provide an exceptional experience for tennis players. Our formula, which emphasizes the tennis experience, ensures that the list as a whole contains a broad spectrum of vacation properties, from large, multi-dimensional resorts to intimate retreats, both in the U.S. and beyond. After all, tennis players have different tastes in tennis vacations, so any list of great resorts and camps has to reflect those differences. By making those players the arbiters of excellence, this one does.
To see the complete list, as well as the best in various categories, visit Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps (http://www.tennisresortsonline.com/trofiles/top-100-tennis-resorts-and-camps.cfm)

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Learn to Ski or Ride at Liftopia’s Top-Rated Beginner-Friendly Ski Areas

January 6, 2017
vt-ski-smuggs-122610_58e2-c-karen-rubin

Smugglers Notch, Vermont, came in #7 for Best Family resorts and #10 for Top Beginner Friendly in the Northeast on Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards list © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and Liftopia, which claims to be the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities, has compiled a list of the top beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas across North America that are ideal for those looking to learn one of winter’s signature sports.

This list is part of Liftopia’s Best in Snow Awards, honoring North America’s most beloved ski areas. The awards, unveiled last week, feature winners across five regions and seven categories (including Beginner-Friendly and Family-Friendly) that Liftopia customers said would be most useful in helping them make the most informed decisions when choosing where to ski or snowboard, regardless of ski area size. You can find the complete list of winners along with methodology here: https://bestinsnow.liftopia.com/#/.

Some highlights:

West Coast:  California has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the West, including Tahoe Donner (first place in the family-friendly category), June, Boreal, Bear Valley, Snow Valley, Homewood, Donner Ski Ranch, Mammoth, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and Sierra-At-Tahoe. Anthony Lakes (OR) is the #1 beginner-friendly ski area in the region.

Northeast: Bretton Woods is the #1 beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski area in the region. In addition to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Northeast, including King Pine, Cranmore, Black Mountain, Pats Peak, Ragged and Attitash.

High West: Utah is home to the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the High West, including Eagle Point (#1 Beginner-Friendly Ski Area), Sundance, Brighton, Powder, Alta, Solitude and Brian Head. In the Family Friendly category, Sipapu, NM came in #1 in the region.

Midwest: Michigan ski areas reign supreme in the Midwest, with the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas including Crystal Mountain (first place in both categories), Shanty Creek, Boyne Highlands, Caberfae, Nubs Nob and Boyne Mountain.

Southeast: West Virginia has the most beginner-friendly and family-friendly ski areas in the Southeast, with Canaan Valley the number one Beginner Friendly and Family Friendly Ski Area in the region. Other winners include Snowshoe, Timberline Four Seasons and Winterplace.

Liftopia operates the largest online and mobile marketplace and resort technology platform serving the ski and mountain activity industry. Skiers and riders can purchase lift tickets, equipment rentals, meal vouchers and more from more than 250 ski areas in North America on Liftopia.com and via the Liftopia mobile app, with savings of up to 85% off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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WalletHub Study: 2016 Best & Worst Airlines

May 21, 2016
AZ-Flagstaff_100315_04e2(c) Karen Rubin

Flying American Airlines into Flagstaff, Arizona © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WalletHub has just announced its list of 2016’s Best & Worst Airlines in order to help consumers prepare for the busy summer travel season.

“Everyone can compare airlines based on price, but it’s much more difficult to weigh your options when it comes to other aspects of the air travel experience. WalletHub’s report therefore focuses on quantifying those aspects – delays, baggage issues, pet care, passenger comfort and more – in order to help travelers make more-informed decisions.”
Among the highlights:

  • Best & Worst Overall: Virgin America (soon to be part of Alaska Airlines) and JetBlue top the list of 2016’s best airlines, while United, American and ExpressJet are the worst.
  • Most & Least Reliable: Delta is the best airline for avoiding cancelations, delays and mishandled luggage, while ExpressJet and Envoy Air are the worst.
  • Most & Least Comfortable: JetBlue offers the most comfortable in-flight experience, while Spirit and Frontier are the least comfortable.

For the full list of 2016’s Best & Worst Airlines, visit:
http://www.wallethub.com/edu/best-airlines/20916/

For CardHub’s report on 2016’s Best & Worst Frequent Flyer Programs, visit:
http://www.cardhub.com/edu/best-frequent-flyer-program/

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Mango Bay Hotel Voted Barbados’ Leading Boutique Resort at World Travel Awards

December 24, 2014
Barbados' Mango Bay Hotel was voted Barbados' Leading Boutique Resort at the World Travel Awards.

Barbados’ Mango Bay Hotel was voted Barbados’ Leading Boutique Resort at the World Travel Awards.

Barbados’ Mango Bay Hotel (www.MangoBayBarbados.com) has been voted Barbados’ Leading Boutique Resort at the World Travel Awards™, recognizing the property’s commitment to excellence over the last 12 months.

“I speak for the entire Mango Bay team in saying that we are truly honored to be voted as Barbados’ Leading Boutique Resort,” said Peter Odle, chairman of the Mango Bay Hotel Group.  “Our team members strive for outstanding service and are eager to meet guests’ needs, something which we feel is imperative in reaching this caliber of excellence,” he continued.

The World Travel Awards™ was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the travel and tourism industry.  The annual program is renowned as the most prestigious and comprehensive in the field.

Nominations for World Travel Awards™ are based on past years’ winners, approved self-nominations and approved World Travel Awards™ commendations.  Once nominated, votes come from qualified executives working within travel and tourism and consumer travel buyers.  Votes are internally audited to ensure the validity of each individual vote.

Located in the historic Holetown area on the famed Gold Coast of Barbados, the 76-room Mango Bay Hotel is known for its sophistication and all-inclusive value. This beachfront, boutique-style property is the ideal tropical retreat for travelers seeking an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle, offering spacious accommodations, a picturesque beach, a centrally-located swimming pool and superb dining. The property is just a short walk from the posh Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, where guests can shop at global luxury retailers including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Cartier, Michael Kors and more.

Mango Bay is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014 with discounted rates starting at US$384 per room, per night, based on double occupancy, on an all-inclusive basis when booked directly.  A Mango Bay all-inclusive vacation includes hotel accommodations, all meals, afternoon tea, all local and brand name drinks including glasses of wine, use of the on-site gym and nightly entertainment. The property is also now offering room service as well as drink and food service at the pool and the beach.  Water skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, wakeboarding, pedal boats, a glass bottom boat ride and a catamaran trip to snorkel with the turtles are also included.

For more information on Mango Bay, call 246-432-1384, email reservations@mangobaybarbados.comor, or visit www.MangoBayBarbados.com.

The 10 Most Praised Ultra-Luxury Cruise Ships in 2014 – Insider Report from CruiseCompete

December 24, 2014
Crystal Cruises has two ships in CruiseCompete's list of Top 10 Ultra-Luxury ships.

Crystal Cruises has two ships in CruiseCompete’s list of Top 10 Ultra-Luxury ships.

SeaDream I tops the Top 10 List for ultra-luxury cruise vacations, according to CruiseCompete, which analyzed reviews from thousands of cruise travelers, who provide insight into cruise lines, ships, amenities, service, dining and the destinations visited.

CruiseCompete has tabulated the ratings given to ultra-luxury cruise ship category:

 

  Line  Ship  Rating
 1. SeaDream Yacht Club  SeaDream I  5
 2. Crystal Cruises  Crystal Serenity  4.89
 3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises  Seven Seas Voyager  4.83
 4. Paul Gauguin  MS Paul Gauguin  4.81
 5. Regent Seven Seas Cruises  Seven Seas Mariner  4.78
 6. Regent Seven Seas Cruises  Seven Seas Navigator  4.75
 7. Silversea Cruises  Silver Shadow  4.57
 8. Crystal Cruises  Crystal Symphony  4.56
 9. Seabourn  Seabourn Sojourn  4.56
 10. SeaDream Yacht Club  SeaDream II 4.25

 

Read full reviews of these ships, and others, here.

Want to know more about the worldwide ports these ships visit? Read port reviews here.

One of the most significant aspects of the ultra-luxury lines is the amenities included in their cruise packages. These ships are designed to feel like floating country clubs or boutique hotels; one where a passenger’s every whim is indulged and there’s no need to keep a wallet handy for extra expenses.

To see what’s included on the Ultra-Luxury lines, click here.

To learn more about the luxury lines, or to book and Ultra-Luxury Cruise, visit www.CrusieCompete.com.

 

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Study Shows 2014’s Best and Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel

November 7, 2014
The festive air in New York City is one reason it is the most top domestic winter holiday destination, according to WalletHub © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The festive air in New York City is one reason it is the most top domestic winter holiday destination, according to WalletHub © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With Americans spending $53 billion every year on winter-related travel and gear and nearly a third of them planning to increase their leisure travel spending in the coming months, a leading personal finance social network, WalletHub, conducted an in-depth analysis of 2014’s Best and Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel. This study supplements the money-saving reports on Currency Conversion and Best Travel Credit Cards available through a sister site, CardHub.

In anticipation of the holiday season, WalletHub identified the best and worst winter travel destinations and departure points, based on 16 different metrics such as airfare costs, flight times, the number of flight connections and hotel costs.

Best US Departure Points for Domestic Travel:

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Salt Lake City
  3. Metrolina
  4. Valley of the Sun
  5. Denver

Best US Departure Points for International Travel

  1. Miami
  2. Atlanta
  3. Washington DC
  4. Metrolina
  5. Greater Twin Cities

Top Domestic Destinations

  1. New York
  2. Las Vegas Valley
  3. Greater Orlando
  4. Southland
  5. San Francisco

Top International Destinations

  1. Riviera Maya, Mexico
  2. Cancun, Mexico
  3. London, UK
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Paris France.

Here are more of the findings:

  • The best overall points of departure are Atlanta (GA), Metrolina, Miami (FL) and Greater Twin Cities.
  • The average international flight to a popular destination costs $2,318, takes 18 hours and has one connection.
  • The average domestic flight to a popular destination costs $1,056, lasts a little more than 7 hours and has 0.66 connections.
  • Despite LAX being the third-busiest airport in the U.S., California cities average a dismal ranking of No. 43 in terms of international travel affordability. This can be attributed to the popularity of European and Caribbean vacations over Asian getaways among U.S. winter travelers.
  • Atlanta (GA) is not only home to the busiest airport in the U.S. but also the most affordable East Coast departure port for winter travelers. It ranks No. 1 in terms of domestic flight affordability, No. 2 for international affordability and No. 1 overall.
  • Of the top 10 most popular winter destinations on our list, New York ranks as the No. 1 domestic destination, whereas Maui (HI), ranks last. For foreign destinations, Riviera Maya, Mexico, snags the top spot, while Sydney, Australia, falls to the bottom.

For the full report and key stats and to see where your city ranks, visit:
http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-winter-travel/7930/

 

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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